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It's make-or-break time for Bruins in Game 6 against Blackhawks

Boston, down 3-2 in Stanley Cup Final, has faced its share of adversity in its up-and-down season. But 'a desperate team is always a tough team to play against,' Bruins' Brad Marchand says.

June 24, 2013

BOSTON — By Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune

— Brad Marchand knows what it is like to spark a turnaround at this crucial juncture of the Stanley Cup Final.

In 2011, as the Bruins trailed the series with the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2, Marchand scored the opening goal of Game 6 to set in motion a comeback that gave the Bruins the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years.

As the Bruins ready for Game 6 on Monday night at TD Garden, in the same predicament against the Chicago Blackhawks two years later, they know they are a different team facing a different set of challenges.

But perhaps at least the attitude is the same.

"A desperate team is always a tough team to play against," said Marchand, who scored three goals in the final two games of the 2011 run. "We wanted to make sure we forced a Game 7 last time. That's our focus this time. … To do that, we have to make sure we lay everything on the line" Monday.

Marchand has yet to notch a point in this series. To prevent the Blackhawks from hoisting the Cup in Boston on Monday, the Bruins are looking for better performances from him and others on their top two lines, especially if second-line center Patrice Bergeron is out or limited. Bergeron's status is uncertain after he left Game 5 because of an undisclosed injury.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves if he's missing," Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said. "We just have to play with the guys we have."

These Bruins have already faced their share of adversity and injuries in an up-and-down season. That includes this series, in which their play has vacillated from shutting out the Blackhawks one night to giving up six goals two nights later.

"That's been a part of our season," Rask said. "In the regular season, we played some good games and then we couldn't even recognize ourselves out there some games."

The Bruins sputtered into the playoffs by losing seven of their last nine regular-season games. In the first round, they were down by three goals in the third period of Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs before rebounding for a 5-4 overtime victory.

Bruins Coach Claude Julien knows his team has the experience to be poised for another turnaround.

"I don't need to go in there and give this big speech and get these guys riled up, because they know what's at stake," Julien said. "We've proved it in the past, and now we have an opportunity to prove it again. That's up to us to show it on the ice versus talking a great game in the dressing room and not showing up on the ice."

The Bruins at least drew some positives from the third period of the Blackhawks' 3-1 victory Saturday in Game 5. With Bergeron off to a hospital, Julien said he thought the Bruins picked up their play, cutting Chicago's lead to 2-1 on Zdeno Chara's goal 3 minutes 40 seconds into the period.

But it wasn't enough to prevent the Blackhawks from earning the chance to win the Stanley Cup on the road for the second time in four years. They clinched the championship in Game 6 in Philadelphia in 2010.

Chicago wing Patrick Kane said his team can't think about the celebration because it is going against a Boston team that knows how to make a comeback.

"They've been in much worse situations than this and have been able to rally back and fight for their lives," Kane said. "To think that we're looking ahead and planning on winning another Stanley Cup, that couldn't be further from the truth. We know what kind of challenge we have."

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